Long Winter x La Station

Together Apart is the second part of an international, bi-city festival co-presented by La Station-Gare des Mines (Paris) and Long Winter Music and Arts Festival (Toronto).

In September, 2019, Long Winter and Collectif MU, in partnership with the French Consulate in Toronto launched LONG WINTER PARIS: an inaugural two-day France/Canada DIY festival and showcase at La Station-Gare des Mines. The event opened ongoing exchange between an under-represented, world-class range of underground music and art scenes in Toronto and Paris.

Together Apart

Long Winter + La Station is the second installment of our collaboration, presented live in Paris and Toronto, and broadcast virtually for global audiences.

DIY Spaces

The venue of Paris co-presenter LA STATION-GARE DES MINES was born from a partnership between programmer/presenter Collectif MU and private real estate developer SNCF.  Through a temporary artistic space activation program, SNCF issued an RFP for an interim (3-year) cultural transformation of a defunct coal storage facility on the outskirts of Paris.  MU won the bid,  and in 2016, their network of artists, architects, and curators repurposed the coal storage facility into a unique, collective-driven multi-use creative and cultural hub. In 2020 MU secured an extension of the lease, and has grown to encompass a second, larger space next door (an old warehouse). 

The conditions that gave rise to the establishment of La Station -- increasing venue closures, a dispersion of the regional cultural scene -- mirror long-present, compounding challenges in Toronto. With rising prices, dense residential structures, and the recent near economic collapse of live music and performance industries, our local scenes face an unprecedented dearth of accessible space.

In a well-documented series of events, Toronto has suffered an alarming loss of DIY-focused venues and spaces over the past decade: a phenomenon that has been exacerbated to the point of crisis, post-COVID.  In the period from April - September, 2020, alone, we witnessed the shutting of 20 venues, following an accelerated litany of pre-pandemic closures, through the preceding decade. Many of these disappearing spaces functioned as safe spaces and incubation sites for a broad network of community-driven scenes, frequently dominated by young or marginalized members.

La Station's DIY collective and private developer partnership, incentivized by a municipal cultural revitalization strategy, offers one potentially instructive model. Our conference surfaces, and critically explores, other cases and implications - with the aim of stimulating opportunities in Toronto, Paris, and elsewhere. The program includes research, cross-sector dialogue, and local interventions.